some press quotes.*

Album Release: Regards sur l’Infini with pianist Sam Armstrong, 2020

 

“Memorable …  intriguing … an extraordinarily polished and thought-through disc. At its centre is a glowing performance of Messiaen’s 1937 song cycle Poèmes pour Mi, Dain’s voice crystalline yet powerful when required, Armstrong’s piano effortlessly propulsive.”
—Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 26 November 2020 (Classical Album of the Week)

 

“Scorching … incisive … Regards sur l’Infini is impressively elegant and thoughtful, featuring cunningly chosen French song settings presented in palindrome form … penetrating artistry … It’s almost worth buying this album just for the opening and closing songs by Kaija Saariaho: perfect in every way.”
—Geoff Brown, The Times, 9 December 2020

 

“It is in many ways a lockdown chronicle, a focus on the present. Dain provides many of the translations herself and her booklet essay is sensitively penned, honest and thoughtful. Dain’s soprano has a slender, pure quality, fearless at altitude such as in Kaija Saariaho’s ‘Il pleut’, where her instrument is beautifully controlled over the droplets of rain falling from Armstrong’s piano accompaniment. His playing of the Debussy songs, in particular, has wonderful clarity. The fragility of the Messiaen cycle is carefully managed, Dain’s soprano floating especially well in ‘Ta voix’. The two Delbos songs from L’âme en bourgeon are rarities on disc; the cycle was premiered at the same recital as the Poèmes pour Mi. Dain and Armstrong’s performance should encourage further exploration. Dutilleux’s ‘Regards sur l’infini’ is possibly the most exquisite track on the album, melancholy, confessional.”
—Mark Pullinger, Gramophone, February 2021

 

“A palindromic program, then, and what a program! Dain herself wrote the outstanding liner notes, and you can hear in every song her unique understanding of this music. Armstrong is her equal partner in everything. Just listen to how desolately he plays the spare notes of Delbos. This music is a discovery, and Dain sings it all with merciless beauty, with Messiaen as the rightful center and high point.”
—Peter van der Lint, Trouw (transl. from Dutch), 20 November 20

 

“A stunning album about turning points and existential epiphanies, cleverly programmed. … At its heart is the song cycle Poèmes pour Mi, composed by Messiaen for his first wife, Claire Delbos: ecstatic pianism, stratospheric outbursts, sultry sighs and pure beauty. … Breathtaking.”
—Joep Stapel, NRC (transl. from Dutch), 10 December 2020

 

“The first thing you notice is Dain’s magnificent voice. … The second is the symbiosis between singer and pianist. It happens rarely that Messiaen, Debussy, Dutilleux, and the French-Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho are championed so sublimely.”
—Guido van Oorschot, Volkskrant (transl. from Dutch), 3 December 2020

 

“Exceptionally successful … Dain brings her warm, clear voice to this French perfume, and Armstrong is an empathetic partner. What a beautiful CD.”
—Erik Voermans, Parool (transl. from Dutch), 27 November 2020

 

“Katharine Dain … shows formidable mastery of French mélodie with excellent diction and impeccable technique. … The voice is crystal clear, almost ethereal, powerful, but
never pushed too far. She is well matched by Sam Armstrong’s piano, at ease in each composer’s world.”
—Elodie Martinez, Opéra Online (transl. from French), 28 December 2020

 

“This recording is that of two artists who are above all fine musicians. … Katharine Dain has everything Messiaen asks of his ‘grande soprano dramatique’. The voice is full, healthy and brilliant, and soft without strain when the score requires. Sam Armstrong works wonders in Saariaho’s ‘Parfum de l’instant’ and in the dreamy Debussy. … This program is a beautiful promise from a duo that deserves to become known.”
—Alexandre Jamar, Forum Opéra (transl. from French), 31 December 2020

Album Release: Regards sur l’Infini with pianist Sam Armstrong, 2020

 

 

“Memorable …  intriguing … an extraordinarily polished and thought-through disc. At its centre is a glowing performance of Messiaen’s 1937 song cycle Poèmes pour Mi, Dain’s voice crystalline yet powerful when required, Armstrong’s piano effortlessly propulsive.”
—Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 26 November 2020 (Classical Album of the Week)

 

“Scorching … incisive … Regards sur l’Infini is impressively elegant and thoughtful, featuring cunningly chosen French song settings presented in palindrome form … penetrating artistry … It’s almost worth buying this album just for the opening and closing songs by Kaija Saariaho: perfect in every way.”
—Geoff Brown, The Times, 9 December 2020

 

“It is in many ways a lockdown chronicle, a focus on the present. Dain provides many of the translations herself and her booklet essay is sensitively penned, honest and thoughtful. Dain’s soprano has a slender, pure quality, fearless at altitude such as in Kaija Saariaho’s ‘Il pleut’, where her instrument is beautifully controlled over the droplets of rain falling from Armstrong’s piano accompaniment. His playing of the Debussy songs, in particular, has wonderful clarity. The fragility of the Messiaen cycle is carefully managed, Dain’s soprano floating especially well in ‘Ta voix’. The two Delbos songs from L’âme en bourgeon are rarities on disc; the cycle was premiered at the same recital as the Poèmes pour Mi. Dain and Armstrong’s performance should encourage further exploration. Dutilleux’s ‘Regards sur l’infini’ is possibly the most exquisite track on the album, melancholy, confessional.”
—Mark Pullinger, Gramophone, February 2021

 

“A palindromic program, then, and what a program! Dain herself wrote the outstanding liner notes, and you can hear in every song her unique understanding of this music. Armstrong is her equal partner in everything. Just listen to how desolately he plays the spare notes of Delbos. This music is a discovery, and Dain sings it all with merciless beauty, with Messiaen as the rightful center and high point.”
—Peter van der Lint, Trouw (transl. from Dutch), 20 November 20

 

“A stunning album about turning points and existential epiphanies, cleverly programmed. … At its heart is the song cycle Poèmes pour Mi, composed by Messiaen for his first wife, Claire Delbos: ecstatic pianism, stratospheric outbursts, sultry sighs and pure beauty. … Breathtaking.”
—Joep Stapel, NRC (transl. from Dutch), 10 December 2020

 

 

“The first thing you notice is Dain’s magnificent voice. … The second is the symbiosis between singer and pianist. It happens rarely that Messiaen, Debussy, Dutilleux, and the French-Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho are championed so sublimely.”
—Guido van Oorschot, Volkskrant (transl. from Dutch), 3 December 2020

 

“Exceptionally successful … Dain brings her warm, clear voice to this French perfume, and Armstrong is an empathetic partner. What a beautiful CD.”
—Erik Voermans, Parool (transl. from Dutch), 27 November 2020

 

“Katharine Dain … shows formidable mastery of French mélodie with excellent diction and impeccable technique. … The voice is crystal clear, almost ethereal, powerful, but
never pushed too far. She is well matched by Sam Armstrong’s piano, at ease in each composer’s world.”
—Elodie Martinez, Opéra Online (transl. from French), 28 December 2020

 

“This recording is that of two artists who are above all fine musicians. … Katharine Dain has everything Messiaen asks of his ‘grande soprano dramatique’. The voice is full, healthy and brilliant, and soft without strain when the score requires. Sam Armstrong works wonders in Saariaho’s ‘Parfum de l’instant’ and in the dreamy Debussy. … This program is a beautiful promise from a duo that deserves to become known.”
—Alexandre Jamar, Forum Opéra (transl. from French), 31 December 2020

Wagner “Liebestod” (Tristan und Isolde) and van Veldhuizen unde imber et ignes with the Nederlands Studenten Orkest, 2020

 

“Immediately in the Prelude and Liebestod from Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, the students were hanging on [Kamps’s] striking hands, which led Dain to a scorchingly sung “Mild und leise.” In the daring and successful new piece by Rick van Veldhuizen, both were in top form.”

—Peter van der Lint, Trouw, 23 February 2020

Wagner “Liebestod” (Tristan und Isolde) and van Veldhuizen unde imber et ignes with the Nederlands Studenten Orkest, 2020

 

“Immediately in the Prelude and Liebestod from Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, the students were hanging on [Kamps’s] striking hands, which led Dain to a scorchingly sung “Mild und leise.” In the daring and successful new piece by Rick van Veldhuizen, both were in top form.”

—Peter van der Lint, Trouw, 23 February 2020

Mozart Don Giovanni (Donna Anna) with the Orchestra of the 18th Century, the Netherlands and Belgium, 2019

 

“Donna Anna was sung by Katharine Dain, in a very fine performance. Her two major arias ‘Don Ottavio, son morta!’ and ‘Crudele … Non mi dir’ were first-class, surprising with extra coloratura.”
—Peter Franken, Place de l’Opéra (transl. from Dutch), 8 October 2019

 

“Of the women, the soprano Katharine Dain was especially convincing as a lyrical and controlled Donna Anna, Don Giovanni’s only victim of the nobility.”
—Paul Korenhof, OpusKlassiek (transl. from Dutch), 8 October 2019

 

“Among the women, Katharine Dain gracefully smoothed Donna Anna’s rough edges with most expressive phrasing.”
—Emmanuel Andrieu, Opera Online (transl. from French), 22 October 2019

 

“Donna Anna, the young woman who doesn’t let herself be caught, blazes with fire in the throat of soprano Katharine Dain.”
—Guido van Oorschot, Volkskrant, 14 October 2019

 

“Outstanding among the singers … was soprano Katharine Dain as Donna Anna, who kept her strength for a beautiful ‘Non mi dir…'”
—Erik Voermans, Het Parool, 17 October 2019

Mozart Don Giovanni (Donna Anna) with the Orchestra of the 18th Century, the Netherlands and Belgium, 2019

 

“Donna Anna was sung by Katharine Dain, in a very fine performance. Her two major arias ‘Don Ottavio, son morta!’ and ‘Crudele … Non mi dir’ were first-class, surprising with extra coloratura.”
—Peter Franken, Place de l’Opéra (transl. from Dutch), 8 October 2019

 

 

“Of the women, the soprano Katharine Dain was especially convincing as a lyrical and controlled Donna Anna, Don Giovanni’s only victim of the nobility.”
—Paul Korenhof, OpusKlassiek (transl. from Dutch), 8 October 2019

 

“Among the women, Katharine Dain gracefully smoothed Donna Anna’s rough edges with most expressive phrasing.”
—Emmanuel Andrieu, Opera Online (transl. from French), 22 October 2019

 

“Donna Anna, the young woman who doesn’t let herself be caught, blazes with fire in the throat of soprano Katharine Dain.”
—Guido van Oorschot, Volkskrant, 14 October 2019

 

“Outstanding among the singers … was soprano Katharine Dain as Donna Anna, who kept her strength for a beautiful ‘Non mi dir…'”
—Erik Voermans, Het Parool, 17 October 2019

Album Release: O schöne Nacht with Damask Vocal Quartet and pianist Flore Merlin, 2018

 

“Katharine Dain’s agile, round soprano, the voluptuous and vibrant mezzo-soprano of Marine Fribourg, Guy Cutting’s flexible and lustrous tenor voice, and the deep warmth of baritone Drew Santini are all portals to the composer’s shimmering sound-world. … Supreme elegance.”
—Alexandra Génin, Classica (transl. from French), June 2019 (CHOC Award)

 

“… lively and convincing … phenomenal. A debut CD to be proud of.”
—ZING Magazine (transl. from Dutch), March 2019

 

“Damask Vocal Quartet, a true ensemble and not only an gathering of four individuals … offers a remarkable fusion of timbres and palpable collaborative energy.”
—Jean-Pierre Robert, ON Magazine (transl. from French), January 2019

 

“Praise to Damask, who with the French pianist Flore Merlin have ensured a perfectly executed, imaginative recital, recorded flawlessly by Frerik de Jong, which certainly leaves us wanting (much) more.”
—Aart van der Waal, OpusKlassiek (transl. from Dutch), December 2018

Album Release: O schöne Nacht with Damask Vocal Quartet and pianist Flore Merlin, 2018

 

“Katharine Dain’s agile, round soprano, the voluptuous and vibrant mezzo-soprano of Marine Fribourg, Guy Cutting’s flexible and lustrous tenor voice, and the deep warmth of baritone Drew Santini are all portals to the composer’s shimmering sound-world. … Supreme elegance.”
—Alexandra Génin, Classica (transl. from French), June 2019 (CHOC Award)

 

 

“… lively and convincing … phenomenal. A debut CD to be proud of.”
—ZING Magazine (transl. from Dutch), March 2019

 

“Damask Vocal Quartet, a true ensemble and not only an gathering of four individuals … offers a remarkable fusion of timbres and palpable collaborative energy.”
—Jean-Pierre Robert, ON Magazine (transl. from French), January 2019

 

“Praise to Damask, who with the French pianist Flore Merlin have ensured a perfectly executed, imaginative recital, recorded flawlessly by Frerik de Jong, which certainly leaves us wanting (much) more.”
—Aart van der Waal, OpusKlassiek (transl. from Dutch), December 2018

Bernstein Candide (Cunégonde), Banff, 2018

 

“Casting Katharine Dain’s dark-hued Cunégonde was the right choice for the outdoor performance. Dain has a faithful and solid tone throughout her entire range, and a mature, modulated coloration that is truly enviable. There has been a swing of late toward light lyric/soubrette-styled performances of the role the past 20 years, but Dain reminded us what the richer lyric coloratura fach ought truly to sound like in her tightly controlled performance of the epic cavatina/cabaletta Glitter and be gay. Bernstein’s parody of Marguerite’s “Ah! Je ris, de me voir si belle” in Gounod’s Faust, satirized the addiction to jewelry and Cunégonde’s incapacity to resist it. Dain pulled off the cynical, saucy line “If I’m not pure, at least my jewels are!” disturbingly well.”
–Stephan Bonfield, Calgary Herald, 16 July 2018

Bernstein Candide (Cunégonde), Banff, 2018

 

 

“Casting Katharine Dain’s dark-hued Cunégonde was the right choice for the outdoor performance. Dain has a faithful and solid tone throughout her entire range, and a mature, modulated coloration that is truly enviable. There has been a swing of late toward light lyric/soubrette-styled performances of the role the past 20 years, but Dain reminded us what the richer lyric coloratura fach ought truly to sound like in her tightly controlled performance of the epic cavatina/cabaletta Glitter and be gay. Bernstein’s parody of Marguerite’s “Ah! Je ris, de me voir si belle” in Gounod’s Faust, satirized the addiction to jewelry and Cunégonde’s incapacity to resist it. Dain pulled off the cynical, saucy line “If I’m not pure, at least my jewels are!” disturbingly well.”
–Stephan Bonfield, Calgary Herald, 16 July 2018

Bernstein Candide (Cunégonde), Banff, 2018

 

 

“Casting Katharine Dain’s dark-hued Cunégonde was the right choice for the outdoor performance. Dain has a faithful and solid tone throughout her entire range, and a mature, modulated coloration that is truly enviable. There has been a swing of late toward light lyric/soubrette-styled performances of the role the past 20 years, but Dain reminded us what the richer lyric coloratura fach ought truly to sound like in her tightly controlled performance of the epic cavatina/cabaletta Glitter and be gay. Bernstein’s parody of Marguerite’s “Ah! Je ris, de me voir si belle” in Gounod’s Faust, satirized the addiction to jewelry and Cunégonde’s incapacity to resist it. Dain pulled off the cynical, saucy line “If I’m not pure, at least my jewels are!” disturbingly well.”
–Stephan Bonfield, Calgary Herald, 16 July 2018

Mozart Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Konstanze) in Clermont-Ferrand, Avignon, Rouen, Massy, and Reims, 2018-19

 

“A laureate of the Clermont-Ferrand 2017 International Voice Competition, Katharine Dain is the revelation of the evening. Her ample and silky voice, supple phrasing and warm timbre are apparent from her first aria. Her subtle interpretation seemed to inspire the Massy Opera Orchestra (and the conductor, Dominique Rouits) to surpass themselves. The young soprano marries dramatic power and enormous vocal agility without ever stepping outside of Mozart’s style. Her authority becomes absolute during her second-act aria “Traurigkeit ward mir zum Lose,” in which her enormous musicality is expressed across a beautiful palette of nuances.”
–Anne Heijboer, Olyrix (transl. from French), 28 May 2018

 

“The cast was dominated by the Konstanze of Katharine Dain, who sang every note with great musicality and confronted with ease the impossible virtuosity of Martern aller Arten.”
–Irma Foletti, Anaclase (transl. from French), 23 February 2018

 

“We soon experience the marvel of hearing coloratura of ideal precision and phrasing like a dream, in an unending crescendo of inspiration. Her tragic arias were the highlight of the evening.”
–Emmanuel Andrieu, Opera Online (transl. from French), 22 February 2018

 

“Katharine Dain, an American soprano of clear and pure lyricism, moves from the warmest tones to the highest notes with beautiful ease. She brings to the character of Konstanze all the sincerity the role requires.”
–Marianne Millet, Paroles d’Opéra (transl. from French), 19 February 2018

 

“An extreme technician, blazing with passion in a first-rate ‘Martern aller Arten.’ This laureate of the 25th International Competition projects a radiant presence, sublimated from the slimmest vertiginous heights of ‘Ach, ich liebte’ to a desperate nobility which nothing can equal but the admirable dramatic power of ‘Welcher Wechsel.’”
–Roland Duclos, Forum Opera (transl. from French), 11 January 2018

 

“Under the leadership of Roberto Forés Veses, Katharine Dain, laureate – and revelation – of the recent Clermont-Ferrand International Competition sparkles at the top of a dazzling roster of youthful talent.”
Diapason (transl. from French), January 2018

Mozart Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Konstanze) in Clermont-Ferrand, Avignon, Rouen, Massy, and Reims, 2018-19

 

 

“A laureate of the Clermont-Ferrand 2017 International Voice Competition, Katharine Dain is the revelation of the evening. Her ample and silky voice, supple phrasing and warm timbre are apparent from her first aria. Her subtle interpretation seemed to inspire the Massy Opera Orchestra (and the conductor, Dominique Rouits) to surpass themselves. The young soprano marries dramatic power and enormous vocal agility without ever stepping outside of Mozart’s style. Her authority becomes absolute during her second-act aria “Traurigkeit ward mir zum Lose,” in which her enormous musicality is expressed across a beautiful palette of nuances.”
–Anne Heijboer, Olyrix (transl. from French), 28 May 2018

 

“The cast was dominated by the Konstanze of Katharine Dain, who sang every note with great musicality and confronted with ease the impossible virtuosity of Martern aller Arten.”
–Irma Foletti, Anaclase (transl. from French), 23 February 2018

 

“We soon experience the marvel of hearing coloratura of ideal precision and phrasing like a dream, in an unending crescendo of inspiration. Her tragic arias were the highlight of the evening.”
–Emmanuel Andrieu, Opera Online (transl. from French), 22 February 2018

 

 

“Katharine Dain, an American soprano of clear and pure lyricism, moves from the warmest tones to the highest notes with beautiful ease. She brings to the character of Konstanze all the sincerity the role requires.”
–Marianne Millet, Paroles d’Opéra (transl. from French), 19 February 2018

 

“An extreme technician, blazing with passion in a first-rate ‘Martern aller Arten.’ This laureate of the 25th International Competition projects a radiant presence, sublimated from the slimmest vertiginous heights of ‘Ach, ich liebte’ to a desperate nobility which nothing can equal but the admirable dramatic power of ‘Welcher Wechsel.’”
–Roland Duclos, Forum Opera (transl. from French), 11 January 2018

 

“Under the leadership of Roberto Forés Veses, Katharine Dain, laureate – and revelation – of the recent Clermont-Ferrand International Competition sparkles at the top of a dazzling roster of youthful talent.”
Diapason (transl. from French), January 2018

Strauss Der Rosenkavalier (Marschallin) with Opera by Request, Toronto, 2017

 

“Katharine Dain was an unusually youthful Marschallin, lovely in the Act One Monologue. At the close of the act, her line “…da drinnist die silberne Ros’n” with its arching high piano was beautifully done, as was the opening line of the Final Trio.”

–Joseph So, Musical Toronto, 12 June 2017

Shostakovich Romances of Alexander Blok with Nieuw Amsterdams Peil, 2016

 

“A gripping performance … in which Katharine Dain, jumping in at the last minute, at times almost approached the legendary Galina Vishnevskaja, for whom the piece was written.”
–Roeland Hazendonk, Het Parool (transl. from Dutch), 16 September 2016

Be With Me Now, Aldeburgh Festival, 2016

 

“The elusive heroine’s parallel crisis is resolved by Katharine Dain’s “I go to him” from Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, a better performance than any I’ve heard in the opera house.”
–David Nice, The Arts Desk, 16 June 2016

West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Bantry, Ireland, 2015

 

“There was also a rare outing for Sofia Gubaidulina’s Hommage à T. S. Eliot, with soprano Katharine Dain deeply affecting in the purity she brought to an emotionally riveting work.”
—Michael Dervan, Irish Times, 8 July 2015

Lieder of Marx, Korngold, and R. Strauss, Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal, Amsterdam, 2015

 

“I can well imagine the panic that struck the organization and pianist Reinild Mees when tenor Michael Schade fell ill one day before the planned recital in the Concertgebouw. What to do in such a situation? … Find a replacement who knows the songs and can jump in at such short notice? That they managed this is a miracle, and the miracle has a name: Katharine Dain. … Dain has a beautiful lyric voice with a pleasing timbre and an easy top. … In Marx’s “Selige Nacht,” the soprano moved me to tears. The song is all longing; the combination of her pure, clear voice and the undisguised eroticism in the text by Otto Erich Hartleben felt like a painting of Schiele in a golden frame of Klimt: Art Nouveau in a nutshell. … In the end, Dain sang the famous “Morgen” of Richard Strauss. It fit the atmosphere perfectly, and Dain knew absolutely what to do.”
—Basia Jaworski, Place de l’Opera (transl. from Dutch), 9 March 2015

West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Bantry, Ireland, 2014

 

“Soprano Katharine Dain was pure and heart-piercing, singing as if the music might have been written just for her.”
—Michael Dervan, Irish Times, 1 July 2014

 

“Katharine Dain showed such guts and heart in her performance that the audience enthusiastically rose to their feet to applaud her.”
—Nicki Ffrench Davis, Irish Examiner, 8 July 2014

Arnold Schoenberg Pierrot lunaire with Lunatics at Large, New York, 2009

 

“The musicians are young, energetic and finely polished, with a sense of humor about their generally sober repertory. … [In Pierrot Lunaire,] Katharine Dain, the ensemble’s engaging soprano, gave as graceful, and as intense, a performance of Schoenberg’s stylized vocal line as you could want.”
—Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, 20 May 2009

*flattering quotes only.
When I’m eighty, I’ll do a dramatic reading of the unflattering ones in full Leontyne-style caftan and turban and put the video on the social media of the future.